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BizReport : Email Marketing : March 12, 2012

Retailers: Why email messages need targeting, personalization

In February retail email sends increased by more than 25% Year over Year; retailers sent their lists an average of 15 promotional emails during the month. Many used Leap Day as a selling point, encouraging shoppers to take advantage of a day that only comes around once every four years. Why the continued focus on this 'old' ad medium?

by Kristina Knight

"Email is used by nearly every consumer, is the preferred channel for commercial messaging, has the highest ROI of any marketing channel, is highly measureable, and directly drives sales," said Chad White, Research Director, Responsys. "Sitting between mature, traditional channels and newer digital channels, email is also benefitting from both the transition of messaging away from postal mail as well as the explosive adoption of smartphones and tablets and continued rise of social networks. And although the email channel has been around for a while now, it continues to evolve both in terms of email service provider (ESP) capabilities and inbox capabilities."

But there are areas where brands still fall short - even in this established advertising medium. In particular, White notes an increased need for relevant messages - that means an increase in targeting and personalization efforts from most email marketers.

"The current environment necessitates that brands (1) infuse their messages with editorial and community content and (2) better target subscribers with segmentation, dynamic content and triggered messages. Brands are gradually accepting that they are publishers now. For most brands, selling isn't just about presenting a product and price anymore. It's about building context around a product that demonstrates its value. For example, Crate & Barrel doesn't just promote a panini press, they promote it with a book of grilled cheese recipes and include one of the recipes in the email along with accessories and gadgets for the prep needed for the recipe," said White. "Beyond taking an editorial approach to content, reaching subscribers with the right message at the right time is becoming more critical to maintaining engagement levels. Sadly, most marketers don't use the advanced tools that ESPs make available to them, which translates into lots of money left on the table."

Tags: Chad White, email content, email marketing, email targeting, email trends, Responsys

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